Imagine a cat that has the charm of an owl and the fluffiness of a teddy bear; you might envision something like the Highland Fold. This breed is a long-haired variant of the Scottish Fold, a cat with folded ears that give it a unique and adorable appearance. The Highland Fold is not only cute but also sweet, playful, and intelligent. However, this breed also has some special health and care needs you should know. In this article, we’ll tell you everything you need to know about the Highland Fold cat breed, from its history and origin to its personality and temperament.
|Weight||8-12 lbs (female), >12 lbs (male)|
|Coat length||Medium or long|
|Coat color||Any color or pattern|
|Eye color||Blue, green, gold or odd-eyed|
|Personality||Sweet, charming and affectionate|
|Good with kids||Yes|
|Good with pets||Yes|
History of the Highland Fold Cat
The Highland Fold cat breed traces its roots back to Scotland, where the first folded-ear cat was discovered in 1961. A white barn cat named Susie was found at a farm near Coupar Angus in Perthshire, Scotland, with an unusual mutation that caused her ears to fold forward and downward. Susie’s owner bred her with a local tomcat and produced two kittens with folded ears. One of them, a female named Snooks, was acquired by William Ross, a neighboring farmer and cat fancier. Ross registered the breed with the Governing Council of the Cat Fancy (GCCF) in the United Kingdom in 1966 and started a breeding program with geneticist Pat Turner. They bred Snooks with domestic cats and British Shorthairs to establish the folded ear gene and create a new breed.
The breeding program produced 76 kittens in the first three years – 42 with folded ears and 34 with straight ears. The conclusion from this was that the ear mutation is due to a simple dominant gene. However, not all kittens had the same degree of ear folding. Some had tightly folded ears, some loosely folded ears, and some had no fold. The tightly folded ears were preferred for show purposes, while the others were considered pet quality.
The breed was not accepted for showing in Europe, and the GCCF withdrew registrations in 1971 due to health concerns related to the ear mutation. The folded ear gene was linked to a condition called osteochondrodysplasia (OCD), which affects cartilage and bone development throughout the body and can cause severe joint problems in some cats. The GCCF also feared that breeding two folded-ear cats together would increase the risk of producing deaf or malformed kittens.
However, the breed was exported to America and Canada in the early 1970s and continued to be developed with other breeds, such as American Shorthairs, Persians, and Exotics. The long-haired variety of the Scottish Fold was recognized as a separate breed by some cat registries and given different names, such as Highland Fold, Scottish Fold Longhair, Longhair Fold, or Coupari. Today, the Highland Fold is recognized by some major cat registries, such as The International Cat Association (TICA), The Cat Fanciers’ Association (CFA), and The American Cat Fanciers Association (ACFA), but not by others, such as Fédération Internationale Féline (FIFe) and GCCF.
The Highland Fold is a medium-sized cat with medium-sized boning. It has a round head with large round eyes that are usually copper, green, or blue in color. The most distinctive feature of the breed is its ears, which fold forward and downward from the middle of the ear toward the front of the head. The ears can have different degrees of folding: single fold (the ear tips are slightly bent), double fold (the ear tips are closer to the head), or triple fold (the ear tips are flat against the head). The triple fold is considered the most desirable for show purposes.
The body of the Highland Fold is well-rounded and muscular, with short legs that appear round as well. The tail is medium in length and proportionate to the body. It should be flexible and movable, not stiff or short. The coat of the Highland Fold can be short or long, depending on whether it inherits the longhair gene from its parents. The short-haired variety has a dense coat that stands away from the body, while the long-haired variety has a longer coat that is soft and silky. Both varieties have longer hair around their necks, forming a ruff or mane.
The Highland Fold can come in many colors and patterns, such as solid, tabby, and tortoiseshell.
The Highland Fold is a sweet, charming, affectionate cat that loves being around people. They are not very vocal but will communicate with you with their expressive eyes and body language. They are also very playful, curious, and intelligent, enjoying interactive toys and games that challenge their minds. They are not very active, but they do need some exercise to keep fit and healthy.
The Highland Fold is an adaptable and tolerant cat that adjusts to different environments and situations. They are not aggressive or territorial and can get along well with other cats, dogs, and children. They are loyal and devoted to their owners and will follow them around the house. They also like to cuddle up on your lap or next to you on the sofa. They are not demanding or needy but appreciate your attention and affection.
The Highland Fold is a generally healthy cat breed, but they have some health issues related to their ear mutation. All Highland Folds are affected by osteochondrodysplasia (OCD), a genetic condition that causes abnormal cartilage and bone development throughout the body. OCD can lead to severe joint problems, arthritis, stiffness, and pain in the limbs and tail of the cat. Some cats may have difficulty walking or jumping, while others may show no discomfort. OCD can also affect the spine and cause spinal deformities.
Ear folding can also cause ear infections, mites, deafness, and other ear problems. The folded ears can trap dirt, wax, and moisture inside the ear canal, creating a breeding ground for bacteria and fungi. The ears should be checked and cleaned regularly to prevent infections and parasites. The ears should also be handled gently and carefully, as they can be sensitive and prone to injury.
To keep your Highland Fold healthy and happy, you should take them to the veterinarian for regular check-ups, vaccinations, and parasite control. You should also monitor their weight and feed them a high-quality diet that meets their nutritional needs. You should avoid breeding two folded-ear cats together, as this can increase the risk of producing kittens with severe health problems.
The Highland Fold has a long coat that can vary slightly in texture depending on the parent breeds. The coat can be soft and silky or dense and plush. The coat requires regular grooming to prevent mats, tangles, and hairballs. You should brush your Highland Fold at least once a week with a slicker brush or a comb to remove loose hair and dirt. You should also trim their nails regularly and check their teeth for tartar buildup.
Where to Buy
You should be prepared to pay a reasonable price for a Highland Fold cat. The price may vary depending on the location, quality, and availability of the cat. The average price range for a Highland Fold cat is between $500 and $1500. However, the price is not the most important factor when choosing a cat. You should look for a cat that is healthy, friendly, and compatible with your lifestyle and personality.
The Highland Fold is a unique and lovable cat breed that has the charm of an owl and the fluffiness of a teddy bear. They are sweet, playful, and intelligent cats that enjoy the company of their owners and other pets. They are not demanding or vocal, but they appreciate your attention and affection. They have some special health and care needs that require regular veterinary check-ups, gentle handling of their ears and tail, and proper nutrition and grooming. They are not recognized by all cat registries due to health concerns related to their ear mutation.
If you are looking for a cat that will make you smile with its cute, quirky appearance and personality, you might want to consider the Highland Fold. They are wonderful companions that will bring joy and happiness to your life. However, before you decide to buy or adopt one, you should do some research and find a reputable breeder or rescue group that can provide you with a healthy and well-socialized kitten. You should also be prepared to provide them with the best care and love they deserve.
Do you have a Highland Fold cat, or are you thinking of getting one? Share your comments, questions, or experiences with us below. We’d love to hear from you!
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Q: How often should I groom my Highland Fold cat?
A: You should brush your Highland Fold cat at least once a week with a slicker brush or a comb to remove loose hair and dirt. You should also trim their nails regularly and check their teeth for tartar buildup. If your cat has long hair, you may need to groom them more often to prevent mats and tangles.
Q: How can I prevent ear infections in my Highland Fold cat?
A: You should regularly check and clean your Highland Fold cat’s ears to prevent infections and parasites. You can use a cotton ball or a soft cloth moistened with warm water or a mild ear cleaner to wipe the inside of the ear gently. You should avoid using cotton swabs or anything that can damage the ear canal. You should also handle your cat’s ears gently and carefully, as they can be sensitive and prone to injury.
Q: How can I tell if my Highland Fold cat has joint problems?
A: You should monitor your Highland Fold cat’s mobility and behavior for any signs of joint problems, such as difficulty walking, jumping or climbing, limping, stiffness, swelling, pain, or discomfort. If you notice any of these signs, you should take your cat to the veterinarian for a diagnosis and treatment. You should also avoid breeding two folded-ear cats together, as this can increase the risk of producing kittens with severe joint problems.
Q: What kind of toys and games do Highland Fold cats like?
A: Highland Fold cats are playful, curious, and intelligent, enjoying interactive toys and games that challenge their minds. They like toys that make noise, move or have feathers or strings. They also like puzzle toys that reward them with treats or kibble. They enjoy playing fetch, chase, and hide-and-seek with their owners or other pets. They also like to cuddle up on your lap or next to you on the sofa.
Are Highland Fold cats rare?
Yes, Highland Fold cats are rare compared to their short-haired counterparts, the Scottish Fold. They are not recognized by all international cat organizations due to health concerns related to their ear mutation. They are also difficult to breed, as breeding two folded-ear cats together can increase the risk of producing kittens with severe health problems. They are more popular in some regions than others, such as North America and Europe. Most shelters do not have kittens of this breed, so it is best to contact breed associations or reputable breeders instead.